Nation Profile: Taunuan

“The Dragon Nations have a long and complicated history with the people of Ere. There is no place in the world that reflects this history more than the Vast Plain, or as it is known in draconic; Taunuan.” ~Jothan Blackkard, Gazetteer

South of Minde Forme, across the Remidian Wastes, East of Vini Tresolm and Novrom across the Sea of Thespis and the strait of Farris Key is a land that is called simply Vast Plain in the language of dragons.

To the casual observer, Taunuan is just that; an endless expanse of grassland. But a closer look reveals scrubby forests, volcanic vents that may well reach into the depths of the planet, a deadly, shifting desert and rocky coastlines. So diverse is Taunuan’s ecosystem that many mages believe that the dragons made it so to reflect their elemental heritage.

In the days following Saint’s Landing, the Greater Pantheon named the dragons as their first among Saints; those who would teach, protect and guide those humans, halflings and hailene they brought into the alien and unforgiving wilderness of Ere. They also gave to the dragons their own sacred land; a wild place where dragons of all colors would find safe and suitable places to clutch and raise their own young. In the time before things were named, the dragons simply called it Vast Plain.

The onset of Draconic Control saw the first demi-humans brought onto the once sacred ground of vast plain; elves and humans who came in chains – slaves of Ghazhuulphear and his forces. In the oppressive heat of the volcanic vents, in punishing ocean caves, and in the sun-baked sands, these humans toiled to raise and protect the eggs of dragons who oppressed them for the Siege Dragon could not spare mothers to raise their own clutches, nor fathers to watch them.

The reverberations of Ghazhuulphear’s fall were not felt in Taunuan for decades after the fact. The slaves knew nothing, save that no more soldiers came to bear the wyrmlings they hatched off to war in the West. Thus, they simply took to teaching and raising the new hatchlings themselves.

When the first Vishnari scouts entered the Vast Plain, they encountered a strange sight; young dragons and demi-humans working together. In the outside world, the remaining Nations of Dragons shunned and avoided humans out of shame, but in this previously unknown world, dragons had neither the belief in their own superiority, nor the almost racial shame that marked dragons. These scouts also encountered what to them was a new race; the offspring of these human raised dragons and their demi-human counterparts; the Dragon-sired.

Word quickly spread across both the Vishnari Empire and the Dragon Nations of this odd tribal culture forming on the Vast Plain. In secret, the Nations gathered to decide what was to be done with the orphans of those who had shamed their people. Finally, it was decided that the Taunuan dragons could not remain as they were, but that the humans and Dragon-sired could not be abandoned completely.

To fulfill both of these obligations, the Dragon Nations built a secret city beneath the earth within Taunuan. The young dragons were to live in this city, while a system of tribute was put in place by which the people of the Vast Plain could summon draconic help in times of need.

Thus, the Dragon Nations hoped to regain at least some of the face they lost by not opposing Ghazhuulphear. They could not have foreseen the massive shifts in culture that would take place in the next two thousand years.

Over the course of the Hailene War and the Age of Tragedies, the dragons saw much of their written history about what happened in the Vast Plain reduced to nil. The more enterprising of their number saw only that they could demand any tribute they wished of the tribes in exchange for protection from Spirit Beasts. And the more ambitious among the now expanding ranks of people coming to Taunuan to escape the devastation wrought by hailene and corruption saw the dragons as valuable allies on their path to power.

None know who began the first dragon cult, but within the span of a few centuries, the term Dragon Cult had become synonymous with ‘tribe’ in Taunuan. The Dragon Nations were horrified to be raised to the level of gods, but were more than open to the twin concepts of interacting with demi-humanity and profiting from them.

Today, the worship and kinship of and with dragons is an omnipresent part of even the most modernized Taunuanese lifestyle. Any given town, city or nomadic tribe subscribes to its own intricate system of customs and festivals to honor the great beasts; the dragon who personally protests that community in particular.

Most of these center around rites of tribute as performed by so called dragon priests. These priests are in league with the community’s patron dragon as often as they are legitimately devoted to the ideals they feel the dragon embodies. Often, these two concepts aren’t mutually exclusive, as dragons often choose their priests.

The religious relationship between a dragon cultist and their patron dragon is closer to ancestor worship than the worship of a god. Communities honor their patron’s Nation as well as the patron themselves and for the most part, worshippers of a given Nation are afforded greater hospitality from other dragons of that Nation, though this is not a hard and fast Rule.

Taunuanese live more comfortable lives than most people on Ere outside the larger cities. They are protected from (most) bandits and spirit beasts by their patrons, thus, they concentrate on farming, hunting and their personal crafts rather than devoting time to learning the ways of combat. The Dragon-sired; who are revered and honored by all Taunuanese, form the nations’ standing army and are allotted any necessities (food, shelter, clothing) by common townsfolk.

Taunuan is home to the rare tree, gretharian, whose wood possesses regenerative qualities. Additionally, many of the local fauna, which would normally have been exterminated by spirit beasts, fetch fine prices for a variety of uses.

Taunuan is the chief importer of glass, precious metal and fine cloth on the continent as all such things are used both for tribute and for the decoration of the chambers of priests and Dragon-sired.

Even in cities like Myas Faang or Ocean Reach, Taunuanese society is based on tribal structure, centering around the dragon-priest chosen by that city, town or nomadic tribe’s patron dragon. The priest is the supreme authority in the community and chooses the structure beneath her if any.

Each priest is bound by some form of archaic law to pay for the dedicated education of a single child (usually a Dragon-sired) from their community. Once every decade, the dragon-priests gather at Myas Faang to choose one of these such children to be the Ascendant of Dragons. This title brings with it at least technical ownership of all the land in Taunuan, though this is merely a legal status to keep the Taunuanese border defined. Ascendants live as kings and queens of other nations do, but serve only as figure heads – it is not necessary or wise to issue commands to the direct servants of the protector dragons.

Organizations and People

The Brotherhood of the Gathering Storm
Until recently, the citizens of Taunuan have had little to fear from wandering bandits, as their draconic patrons have been able to drive any elements of banditry from the land. This all changed eight years ago when an unnamed brass dragon brought to the nation his own army to raid and steal from his revered brethren.

Calling himself Storm Gatherer, the dragon has successfully led raids on tribes and even small towns during times when their patrons were otherwise indisposed. His motives and means of gathering information are unknown, but Storm Gatherer has quickly become infamous.

Nels Toa-Rai (Male human Wizard 23)
On the eastern coast lies a finger of rocky sand where the tide never seems to rise. Known as Delsmiar Point, this location supports and single, small stone domicile where dwells the enigmatic wizard called Nels Toa-Rai. No one knows exactly how long Toa-Rai has lived in the stone hut, but all accounts say that someone by the name of Nels Toa-Rai has lived on Delsmiar Point since the end of Draconic control.

Toa-Rai has little truck with the locals or dragons, but he has an open invitation distributed all across the continent that he will impart a small bit of his vast arcane knowledge and power upon any adventurers who will travel to Taunuan and accept a quest from him. These quests often end up to be simply complicated errands that seem to gain the wizard nothing except the pleasure of watching adventurers endure (or fail) at such trials.

Major Settlements
Myas Faang
Built on the edge of the Remidian Wastes, Myas Faang stands on what was once the clutching ground of the Blue Dragon Nation, Mezul’ridgast. Today, Myas Faang is known as the home of Ascendants, as the palace of the Ascendant of Dragons resides within the city.

While not as advanced in magical arts as other cities, Myas Faang does sport a massive open air market and frequent festivals to honor their patron, Ganna’enderess (Female wyrm red dragon).

Ocean Reach
Grand columns of white stone rise from the sea on the eastern coast of Taunuan. Upon them rests the grand city of Ocean Reach, the one city on Ere where dragons in their true form share the streets.

Ocean Reach is built in two scales; human and draconic. All public houses have a ground level entrance and a huge open portcullis for dragons to land and enter.

Locations of Note
The Dragon Market
Legend holds that the dragons of Ere have a bazaar somewhere in the secluded depths of one of Taunuan’s volcanic vents. This bazaar is open to anyone able to find it, and is a source of almost any sort of magic items coin can buy. Thus far, searches for the bazaar have turned up little, but the hope that it really exists drives many to continue.

Remidian Wastes
The northern span of Taunuan is a dry, sandy waste known as the Remidian Wastes. The wastes, unlike most deserts, supports almost no natural life. The only living things in the Wastes are spirit beasts and supernatural creatures that do not depend on the desert plants that normal animals do.

A few Dragon Cults still subsist on the edge of the Wastes, sending their young warriors to brave the desert sands as rites of passage. Rumors persist of tribes actually living in the Wastes, and the reports of a few adventuring troupes seem to support this claim, though the Taunuanese deny it.

The presence of dragons keeps spirit beasts populations in Taunuan down to a manageable level, which means that magical beasts and natural predators have arisen to fill the gap. Dire animals, monstrous insects and dinosaurs are the primary creatures encountered in Taunuan.

The greatest threats adventurers will face comes from hostile dragon cults, their patrons and the Brotherhood of the Gathering Storm.

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©Landon Porter